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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Channelling his inner Nixon again

Even though Henry Kissinger is still inexplicably not behind bars and could serve as the medium, New York Times columnist William Safire regularly channels Richard Nixon in his op-ed pieces. Safire apparently has some new competition--John Kerry. From Reuters:
"We are going to build our relations all around this planet," said Kerry, who has accused Bush of alienating allies in the U.S.-led war in Iraq. "We are going to get those troops home with honor."

The line echoed Richard Nixon's 1968 "peace with honor" campaign pledge to end the Vietnam War, which Kerry served in and later opposed. The pledge helped Nixon win the presidency, but a peace deal was not reached until 1973 and U.S.-backed South Vietnam fell to the communist North in 1975.
I mentioned yesterday that I was seeing parallels between Kerry and Nixon, and I think I've seen it suggested on other blogs as well. This is the first time I've seen the comparison made in the mainstream media. Surely Kerry remembers the "peace with honor" phrase. Is he really stupid enough to think that comparisons with Nixon will help his campaign? While Democrats and some Republicans have tried to compare themselves to Truman or JFK the first, I can't recall even the lamest of Republican candidates trying to compare themselves to Tricky Dick since Watergate.

And all this before I even begin to address the question of whether there is any honor to be had from an illegal invasion.

I try not to be one who jumps on some unfortunate phrase to crucify a politician, at least until a pattern develops. ("States' rights," for example, is a concept badly in need of discussion, but one which no candidate dare mention. But why not allow states the right to decide on euthanasia or medicinal marijuana or gay marriage?) But this "with honor" crap would seem to be a very deliberate choice of words on Kerry's part, and all I can say is: What the Cheney is he thinking? Does he want to lose? Are Kerry's advisers, or his focus groups, or Kerry himself simply Karl Rovian moles? I almost suggested that he might say "peace with honor" in my post last night, but I thought there was no way he could be that stupid. I guess next he'll be claiming to have invented the Internet while starring in Love Story*, telling southern voters that we wouldn't have had all these problems if Strom Thurmond had won back in '48, that trees cause pollution, and that a Kerry victory will lead to a thousand-year reich, following the mother of all battles. Then maybe he can invite Willie Horton (the ex-con, not the ex-Detroit Tiger) to go for a tank ride with him.

As I recall, well more than half of the names on the Vietnam memorial earned their spot there after Nixon was elected promising "peace with honor." He never delivered on the honor, nor could he have, and peace was tried only after everything else had failed.

(*Yes, I know both of those Gorey stories were Repug lies. So was "peace with honor.")